The 2017-2018 Harry C. Yeatman Award in Biology was awarded to biology major Niko Darby at the annual Biology Department majors event in Harris Commons of Spencer Hall. Students who receive the Yeatman Award are senior biology or ecology & biodiversity majors chosen for their scholastic achievement, leadership qualities, and an appreciation for biology as a discipline, which are characteristics exemplary of Dr. Yeatman’s life and career.
Over the past two summers, Niko Darby has been a research assistant examining behavior of the local freshwater mosquitofish in biology professor Katie McGhee’s lab. He has successfully completed two independent research projects as well as contributed to ongoing lab experiments and general fish husbandry. His 2016 project examined how recent stressful encounters with predators affect an individual’s behavior in the future under a variety of different contexts. His 2017 project explored how recent stressful encounters with predators affect an individual’s ability to learn a color-reward task. Both of these projects benefitted from Niko’s creativity and unique perspective, and are important contributions to the broad field of behavioral ecology.